We were able to spend last Saturday with our good friends, Brent and Lorraine Jameson, who have been serving in the Congo (DRC) for the past 12 months. They came to Johannesburg for a week and saved their last day here to be with us. We went to the Rhino & Lion game reserve. First I’ll tell you about the R & L, then about the Jamesons
The reserve is quite a large place. Once we were in, it seems that we drove around forever observing the animals. In the general area were rhinos, warthogs, cape buffalo (boy are they huge), several kinds of antelope and other DLA (Deer Like Animals), guinea fowl and other birds, wildebeests (gnus) and some that I’ve surely forgotten. These animals roam free within the reserve, since the predators are in double fenced areas. The three predators were the wild dogs, cheetahs and lions. We watched the feeding of these three groups of predators. They throw big chunks of animal carcasses into the groups of predators and they proceed to tear them apart and growl at their colleagues. The biggest bullies seemed to be the warthogs. They would chase bigger animals away from the hay that had been thrown out to feed the herbivores. They were being fed hay since most of the grass has been eaten and won’t be growing much again until the rains come. The wild dogs seemed to be the nastiest while they were trying to eat as they were continually “arguing” with each other over who gets the food.
We tried to see some hippos and crocodiles in some big pools but were unsuccessful. We did hear at least one of the hippos, however. Very noisy – somewhat like the sound Georgia and I heard coming out of that old railroad tunnel in Wisconsin last year on our bike ride up the Mississippi. We waited around a long time hoping to see the hippos surface or lumber back into the pond(s), but as noted above, nothing happened.
Now to the Jamesons. Brent is my old Stake President from Arizona and my roomie at girls’ camp. I think we spent four years together at camp. He says I trained him, since I’d been there once before. Brent and Lorraine sent their missionary application to the Missionary department expecting to be called as CES missionaries in Lyon, France. They had spoken with the mission president there and he had notified all the required parties that he wanted them to come and serve with him. They were flabbergasted when they opened their call and it said they were to serve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa mission.
As they described some of their adventures in Lubumbashi, it made the frustrations we have dealt with in our mission seem like child’s play. They deal with police stops almost every day, shortages of teaching materials, a non-existent postal system, regular (actually irregular) power outages, bad roads, scary plane rides, and so much more. Lorraine has had to work hard on her French and is now feeling fairly confident. Brent told us that he has been able to speak more fluidly in French since he arrived in the Congo – even though he was already fluent in the language. He was set apart to be the “Assistant Mission President” in the southeast area of the mission since it is so far from the mission headquarters in Kinshasa so any meeting they attend, he is the “visiting authority” and they are both expected to speak.
July 1, the mission was split with Lubumbashi as the HQ of the new mission. President Packer has now assigned them to go to Burundi with one other missionary couple and eight young missionaries to begin work in that small nation. They said that there are about 20 known members in Burundi right now, so they will be starting from scratch in their efforts. For those from Arizona, the other missionary couple is the Frogleys. Elder Frogley once taught seminary at Marcos de Niza in Tempe - small world in the church. Brent is a counselor to President Packer and will be directing the work in Burundi.
It was good to spend the day comparing notes and renewing the old friendship. We wish them the best in their new assignment. We know that the Lord will bless them in their work and they will find success.